What is Reconstructive Surgery?

Reconstruction is a broad term (often associated with plastic surgery) that refers to everything from reconstructive surgeries to cosmetic augmentations. Likewise, there is a wide range of what facial reconstruction might entail. Reconstruction after Mohs surgery can range from a small closure stitched into a wrinkle to a large flap with multiple sutures in different areas of the face.

A wide range of reconstructive options may be used including small side-to-side linear repairs, flaps, grafts, and various combinations of these to create the most functional and esthetically-pleasing results.

What Should You Expect During and After Reconstructive Surgery?

At Epiphany, we opt for reconstructive surgery based on patient preferences and the specific anatomic location. Your doctor will evaluate the type of closure needed, the local movement and functions of the tissues and long term-scar placement.

Healing from Mohs reconstructive surgery is a process that varies depending on the extent of the surgery. For patients with closures on the face, sutures are removed in five to seven days. Patients who needed a skin graft have their sutures removed within two weeks. 

Patients should keep the bandage on for 24-48 hours to allow pressure to be put on the wound. When they remove it, we recommend applying a diluted white vinegar solution on the wound. It does not burn and maintains an antibacterial environment. We also recommend applying petrolatum (Vaseline) instead of antibiotic cream to the wound.

If patients have had a significant flap or graft, there will be more extensive discussions with them about optimal recovery care. Some patients may have to sleep upright and take several weeks to recover rather than the standard one-to-two-day recovery period.

Patients will be given verbal and written detailed instructions for their recovery plan. If accompanied by family or friends, the post-operational discussion will take place with everyone present, so everyone is aware of the approach to wound care.

The majority of patients are pleased with their results within a month. However, the scar will continue to fade, and it can take up to a year to see the final results of the healing process.

FAQs About Reconstructive Surgery

How can I avoid large scars from reconstructive surgery?

The length of the scar or the size of the reconstruction is not an indicator of long-term results. But trying to minimize the reconstruction just to make a “smaller scar” can lead to an undesirable result. Training and experience will enable your doctor to reconstruct each defect uniquely for best long-term results.

Why are some scars after surgery raised?

To account for falling maturation, doctors will begin with a raised lin to ensure the scar area will depress and contract back to its normal skin appearance. This helps to avoid the scar depressing further into the skin and creating a deeper depression in the skin tissue.

Additional Resources

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